The first home game of the season was shrouded in doubt and negativity following two defeats in as many games.
No wins, no points and compared to previous years, no fans! Less than 20,000 sloped into the City Ground for this opening day home tie!
One of the many talking points was the inclusion of Henri Lansbury as captain, it was no great shock however to see him actually put a shift in what could turn out to be his swansong.
For a player of his ability, he gets away with just doing enough far too often. Like Commons and McGugan before him he can allow himself to go M.I.A because he has so much natural ability.
I can’t say I’ll be happy to see him go but over the course of a season I will not miss him.
As I took my seat in the lower tier Clough stand I decided to concentrate most of my attention on the former Arsenal man.
Despite him working wonders with the ball whilst in possession, I noticed that same old swagger when it was time to go and get it back.
Like I said earlier; when you are blessed with natural ability you can choose to duck and dive.
And that’s the difference between the likes of Lansbury and your Xavi’s and Iniesta’s of this world. One will get rich in second tier football whilst the latter will work harder....and conquer the world!
The game itself was a nervy affair at times and it was inevitable that one of the three former Reds would score for Rotherham; Danny Collins took his header well to put the Yorkshire side ahead on 13 mins.
Fair play to the lad, he received some hefty criticism whilst at Forest. Forest had the ball in the net soon after but Tyler Walker’s tap in was indeed off side.
The remainder of the half was poor to be honest and people were clearing their throats for the half time boos and sharpening their verbal daggers. Then came a fateful moment, maybe one of the most important of the season to come?
The impressive former Derby man Jamie Ward, battled his way down the left wing and hooked over a tantalising cross for fellow new boy Matt Mills to power home the equaliser with his head. With a minute to go until half time, the half and maybe, just maybe the fate of the season was changed?
The second half saw the emergence of confidence in a number of players, Mancienne was doing a fine job at left back, Wilson put a very poor first half behind him whist Ward and Antonio impressed me with their positivity.
Vaughan troubled me somewhat, it is clear to see that both in front of the back four and in the striking role we had real issues.
Walker put in a great shift but he is not physically ready just yet. In the future I think Vaughan will be replaced by Mancienne and new signing Pinillos will drop in at left back.
Despite my criticisms of Lansbury he played ball after ball to the wings with extreme precision, one of which Chris Burke should have done better with when in on goal.
Walker had a shot well saved as well as the menacing Antonio. You could sense a winner but it came from a mistake in the end.
Rotherham’s keeper Roos dropped Chris Burke’s tame cross onto the bar before Michail Antonio blazed home the rebound from six yards to put Forest ahead, for the first time this season!
Antonio was unplayable at times and I dread to think what we’d do without him! I can live without Lansbury (not sure my wife can), but Mighty Michail must stay!
After the goal it was one way traffic, Mancienne and Vaughan came very close to extending the lead.
Walker had been replaced by Oliver Burke and Blackstock for the injured Ward, all of whom can be happy with their contribution. Despite Walker being the fans favourite, I see bigger things happening for Oliver Burke.
He has real pace and the right physique for this division, he is a player I will watch with real interest.
So where do we go from here? With or without Lansbury I think we’ll be ok. Everyone seems to think I’m deluded but if we keep putting the effort in we might just be in the hunt when the troops return!
By Steve Corry